Improve Gas Mileage With Best Practices

Updated on December 3, 2019
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I have done a lot of traveling by car and SUV driving 20,000+ miles a year. I have found many easy ways to save at the pump and add MPG.

Improving gas mileage easily
Improving gas mileage easily | Source

Improving gas mileage on your vehicle isn't rocket science, nor does it require any hokey conversions to alternative fuel. Using common sense can save you money and help you avoid any mishaps. We'll illustrate a couple of scenarios to illustrate some common sense.

Poor Practice: Failure to Plan (The Mileage Killer)

It's that time of year, one you've been looking forward to for a while now; family vacation! Before you head out on the open road you fill up your tank with just the right amount of fuel. It's been a few years since you've hit this vacation spot and your car has seen some rough times since then, but at least you can count on the trusty miles per gallon rating of your vehicle! Once filled up you head on home. After a few minutes, you realize you've forgotten some essential supplies, so you fire up the old clunker and head to the local grocery store. About 30 minutes after being home everyone's hungry and demanding a hot breakfast (after all, it's a bit chilly out) so you jump back into your car and run to the local fast food joint to pick up breakfast. After everyone's had a satisfying meal, it's time to load up your old jalopy with luggage and supplies to take a family vacation across the country. The tires don't have even pressure, and you could probably use a tune-up, but there's no time for that now.

You hit the freeway, weaving in and out of morning traffic, often braking hard and accelerating hard in order to get to your vacation spot early. Finally, with traffic behind, you're on the open road and its smooth sailing! But wait... suddenly the "low fuel" symbol lights up your dashboard and you're in the middle of nowhere! How could this happen when you know you calculated your fuel consumption based on the MPG of your vehicle?

Your failure to plan ahead has resulted in your spending vacation stranded on the side of the road waiting for a tow-truck. You failed to apply best practices for improving gas mileage!


Best Practice: Planning Ahead (The Mileage Saver)

It's vacation time! Before embarking on your excursion, you take a moment to plan your trip. First things first, your car needs to be in tip-top shape to avoid any possible issues along the way. Using common sense, you had the car taken to the mechanic the day prior. A tune-up was performed, tires were rotated and filled with even air pressure, and your air filters were replaced. Your old jalopy is in tip-top shape and ready for the open road!

Realizing you need to fill up on gas, you check your supplies to ensure you have everything you need. Turns out you're missing several essentials. Writing them down, you get ready to head to the gas station and then the local market. You make a final call for supplies to your family, in which case they respond that they could use some breakfast. You add it to your list and head out. The gas station, grocery store, and fast food breakfast joint are all within a mile radius so you can make all stops in one trip. You finally get home and pack the car with only essential supplies and then hit the road to your vacation spot.

Your earlier planning pays off as your route maximizes the HOV lanes on freeways, allowing you to bypass traffic freely. Maintaining speeds that obey the speed limit, you find yourself at your vacation spot with some fuel left in the tank. You applied some best practices for travel, and you got to your destination as planned and greatly improved on gas mileage!


How Scenario #2 (Best Practice) Improved Gas Mileage

You were able to arrive at your destination in scenario #2 because you used common sense to increase fuel efficiency, which included:


Planning a single trip before getting started to get supplies, breakfast and gasoline is a big fuel saver. It's more efficient to make a single longer trip when the car is warmed than to make multiple trips from a cold start. In addition, planning your route before stepping into the car allowed you to route the best and most efficient method of arriving at your destination, avoiding side-streets and traffic.

Keeping a Light Load

Every 50 pounds reduces your mileage by about 1 percent, so it's wise to keep the load limited to essentials.


Performing the tune-up helped produce a 4 percent increase in mileage.

Tire Pressure

By ensuring all tires had equal and adequate pressure, you were able to increase mileage.

New Air Filter

The simple process of adding a new air filter can increase mileage by as much as 10 percent and keep your car running smoothly.

Safe Driving

Not only is driving safe... well, safe, it's also more fuel-efficient! Driving hard on freeways, braking and accelerating constantly, and speeding can reduce fuel efficiency by a whopping 33 percent!!! Following only a few simple common-sense tips will get you to your destination on time and efficiently and help you to improve gas mileage.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Jason Nicolosi


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